EXTRA! SO VERY EXTRA!

Archive for November, 2013|Monthly archive page

#UMWFG: Career 2 to Career 1

In Education, Encouragement, Happiness, Using my words for good #UMFWG on November 3, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I used to be an educator. I taught public school for four years after I earned by Master’s Degree in Middle Grades Language Arts and Social Studies. Before I left the classroom, I taught grades 4, 5, and 7.

I hated it. I LOVED my students, and they had great parents. My co-workers were, for the most part, intelligent, funny, and wonderful to work with. Administrators could be rather a mixed bag of both astonishingly capable and astonishingly nonchalant. But, my employer. Sheesh and good grief. Sheesh and good grief.

I’m no longer in the classroom, and I have no desire to go back to the classroom on a five-day a week, eight+ hours a day basis. I volunteer with high school students, and that usually fills my desire to help and teach young people. But, looking back, if I had known some things up front, I may have passed a more pleasant and meaningful time in the classroom–and maybe I would have stayed longer.

1. CELEBRATE. Most first-year teachers get caught up in a whirlwind of preparing classrooms, grading papers, getting into the schedule, and writing lesson plans. Stop each day–if only for a couple of minutes to celebrate where you are. Take before and after pictures of your classroom. Keep a one sentence journal of at least one good thing that happened that day.

Celebrate with your students in small ways. At my first school, some really awesome teachers would give their classes “silent sprinkles” or “spirit fingers.” It was just a small way to celebrate the small learning victories that your students truly will make everyday. Some concepts are really hard. In my field, grammar parsing is a notorious trap of confusion. I gave sprinkles every chance I got, and it really came to mean something good for my students.

Smiling students = smiling teacher = happier days

2. ERASE THE NEGATIVITY OF OTHERS. I clearly remember one of my coworkers trying to have a come-to-Jesus moment with me and reveal to me all the things that I “can’t” do. I listened quietly, simmered internally, and immediately went out and got a hat made that said

SONY DSC

I didn’t realize that so many people in a work environment would be into crushing my spirit. But, that’s about what happened. And, I was unprepared for that so EVERYTHING affected me. The lunch lady who cursed me out in front of my students; the principal who called me into her office for “sitting wrong” during a meeting. More than shutting out that negativity, I should have let each of them know in person that, even though I was 24 years old, I was a professional and a human being. I was not there to make friends or be liked. If any of them had a personal problem with me, I would not have minded addressing it. As it was, I wore my emotions on my face and they each smelled blood, and went for the kill.

My advice to you: address problems like this head on, in person, and in no uncertain terms. Failing to address these problems will not make them go away.

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#UMWFG: Friend dumped redux

In and other uncomfortable topics, Friendship, Happiness, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Using my words for good #UMFWG on November 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I’ve written before about being friend dumped, but at the time I was studying for the Georgia bar exam and life was an emotional roller coaster.

I found out that I passed the bar several days ago. So, I decided to revisit those feelings. Not surprisingly, things look different now that I am in an emotionally different place. I still hurt from those losses, but I also see that I have done the same thing to other people for both good and bad reasons (from my point of view). That realization has helped to move to a place of forgiveness toward both myself and others.

In my victim-mindset, I had all questions and no answers as to why anyone would do such a thing. But, now that I am in a more triumphant mindset, I am able to supply some of my own answers–and maybe answers for others, too.

1.  I THOUGHT WE WERE CLOSE.

There are areas and zones of black when it comes to answering any questions about human relationships. But, often times we WERE close. We shared physical and emotional space. Sometimes, however, perhaps *I* thought I was closer to the other person than I actually was. Perhaps *I* wanted to be closer to the other person than I actually could be. Nonetheless, we still shared some degree of connection.

I should NOT allow the disappearance of the friendship/relationship to diminish the closeness and connection that genuinely did exist.

2. WHY DID YOU LEAVE?

Sometimes, I left because the leaving was in my best interest. Maybe I felt emotionally dominated or suppressed by the other person. Maybe I felt recurring but unpredictable tides in the relationship that I just couldn’t decipher. Maybe I was trying to make some changes in my life that I didn’t want to force that other person to become a part of. Maybe I was changing and that other person blatantly did not want to be a part of that. Maybe I was just too immature to handle the weight of that relationship.

Sometimes, I left because the leaving was in the other person’s best interest. I do freely admit that I did not do altruistic abandonment very often. But, the times that I did, it was because I knew (felt) that other person wanted something from me that I couldn’t give and I knew (felt) that other person would not accept that fact that I couldn’t; that I was emotionally unable to deliver.

Sometimes, life pulls people apart. Maybe I was courageous enough to fight life’s gravity, maybe I decided to just be pulled away. But, I still harbor gratefulness, thankfulness, and fond thoughts for those people that life pulled away.

3. WHY DIDN’T YOU OFFER SOME SORT OF EXPLANATION?

No explanation is good enough, anyway. Truly. Besides, sometimes “explanations” turn into blame games. And, that would just leave everyone feeling terrible. Of course, that’s a cowardly response. There was a way for me to explain what was going on with ME without involving YOU. Also, in situations where I was wrong and continued to be wrong and knew that I would stay wrong for a while: it’s so much easier to just tiptoe out of the backdoor in my socks. HOW could I look another person in the eye and admit: “So, yeah. I had underhanded motives. Still have them. Will continue to have them. Sorry for not being sorry about that.”

4. DO YOU EVEN CARE THAT I AM STILL HURTING?

Maybe. Maybe not. For some people that I friend dumped, I do feel bad that I changed the locks, didn’t let them know, and now refuse to answer the door. I know those people didn’t deserve it, but I’m just too cowardly to reopen the subject. A couple of times, I have reopened the subject (but, years later). I felt awkward at first to bring up something from so long ago; I thought it would seem as if I had been ruminating for all this time (true); I thought maybe that other person would not remember what I was talking about; I thought they would curse me out. It WAS awkward. S/he DID remember. S/he was, surprisingly, mild and mature in response.

But, it doesn’t get easier to reopen to past friend dump.

Sometimes, though: I don’t care. Sometimes (in a most UN-WWJD way), I feel like I screwed him/her because s/he screwed me first.

5. I KNOW YOU ARE VAGUEBOOKING/SUBTWEETING ABOUT ME.

SUCH a 21st century problem. Yeah, guilty as charged. I did. Totally. Sometimes, I vaguebooked/subtweeted from the victim’s mindset. Sometimes, I did so from the dumper’s mindset. But, yeah. I totally did it. Like, totes.

6. COULD WE REBUILD A FRIENDSHIP?

Ummmmm (from both the dumper’s and dumpee’s mindset)…..probably NOT, but maybe. I’ve never really tried it. Is there a way to rebuild a friendship after a such a rift? In my experience, no. By the time both of us are ready to mend the rift, we’ve both grown and changed–perhaps into an appreciably different person.